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PUNCTUATION > Apostrophe > Colon > Comma > Dash > Exclamation > Parenthesis > Period > Questionmark > Quotations > Semicolon

Punctuation marks: How to use the EXCLAMATION POINT


the EXCLAMATION POINTWriters use the exclamation point (!) as a device to attract attention to a word, phrase, idea or sentence. You can find it frequently used in persuasive writing, such as advertisements, circulars and signs. The exclamation point is also used by fiction and non-fiction storytellers to add surprise or tension to dialogue or narrative.


1) Use the exclamation point to emphasize the expression of any emotion:

EX.— I wish I had four million dollars!
EX.— Surely you don't expect me to believe that!
EX.— You rascal! You thief!
EX.— I love you!

2) Use a comma, not an exclamation point, after "Oh," as a general thing, especially if you include an exclamation point at the end of the sentence:

EX.— Oh, I'm sick of hearing complaints!

3) In formal writing, especially in business correspondence, do not use two or more exclamation points at the end of a phrase or sentence because it is grammatically incorrect. In certain genres of writing, such as fiction writing and poetry writing, you are at liberty to use more than one exclamation points at the end of a word or sentence to express yourself more freely.


4) If you end a sentence with quotation marks or a parenthesis, and you need an exclamation point to complete the sentence, then put the exclamation point inside the quotation marks or parentheses.

If the exclamation point itself is part of the quoted text or part of the parenthetical text; put the exclamation point outside the quotation marks or parentheses.

EX.— His favorite expression was: "What we want are orders!"

EX.— Everybody! There is no such word in our dictionary as "fail"!

EX.— Our mutual friend John (what a happy guy he is!) arrived yesterday at the airport.

Do not abuse the exclamation mark by using it too frequently. Using the exclamation mark as a means of emphasis now and then gives you added command, but using it in too many places will irritate the reader and make the exclamation less effective.

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PUNCTUATION > Apostrophe > Colon > Comma > Dash > Exclamation > Parenthesis > Period > Questionmark > Quotations > Semicolon





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